The Importance of Involving Research Scientists in Education and Outreach
In this paper, I will discuss issues regarding the involvement of research scientists in Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) efforts. I will start with a discussion of definitions followed by reasons why it is important to involve research scientists in education and outreach. I will then describe characteristics of successful E/PO scientists followed by some of the many challenges faced by scientists who wish to participate in E/PO activities. I will conclude with some potential solutions and a number of questions that underlie the emergence of the new profession of E/PO scientists. This work is allegorical in nature and came about through personal experience and many discussions with colleagues in both the scientific and educational communities. Thus there are few references
and many generalizations, and I apologize for this in advance. Nonetheless, given my particular experience over the past six years as a research scientist and professional E/PO scientist working in an astronomy museum, and given the nature of the conference in which a number of these ideas were presented, I hope it is of some value to the fledgling community of E/PO specialists.